It was just coming up to midnight on a Thursday night. We were driving from the Orlando airport on a major route out of the city. In broad daylight I’m sure this road looked pretty innocuous and unspectacular. But on this particular evening, what stood out to me were the seemingly endless amount of windowless buildings with neon signs offering “massages”. Building after building, it was comparable to how many Tim Horton’s one would see in any given Canadian city.
I had to ask myself; is offering “massages” such a desirable, lucrative job that THIS many operations have enough
staff to extend these services? Or is there something more nefarious behind those neon signs?
My memory flashed back to a very pleasant lunch date with a girlfriend of mine on a peaceful waterfront patio in a beautiful town in southern Ontario, Canada. The weather was perfect and we were chatting about work. My friend worked in management for a popular and high profile hotel chain in Oakville, Ontario. She mentioned upcoming training scheduled for their staff…on the signs of human and sex trafficking. (Insert the sound of screeching brakes here.)
I could not connect the dots at first. It wasn’t sinking in. Why are they providing training on human and sex trafficking to staff in an Oakville hotel that caters mostly to business clients?
As an experienced executive in the hotel industry, my friend told me sex trafficking in the quaint, prosperous, and beautiful city of Oakville, Ontario was prolific. This was almost five years ago she told me that. An article recently published by CTV News in February of 2020 indicated data shows “Peel Region (overseeing Oakville) has the highest rates of trafficking in all of Canada”.
Has anything changed?
Sex trafficking is not only all around us, it’s unfolding relentlessly right in front of us. Is our naivety and lack of awareness being interpreted as consent to what is happening? Do the victims think that because there isn’t major outcry to protect or rescue them that we are consenting to their exploitation?
“A new study suggests people in Atlantic Canada have a lot to learn about crime of human trafficking. The study was done by the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, a charity that helps victims and provides information others.” – CBC Nova Scotia
Meanwhile, on the southern Mexico/USA border, the cartels are reportedly raking in a daily income of $14 million a day trafficking vulnerable women and children across the border. Many of the unaccompanied minors that come across are shipped off to places unknown for reasons known but not acknowledged.
Have we become so desensitized that we no longer cherish the value of human life? Are we a society so distracted and divided by a virus documented since day one of having a 99.97% survival rate that we no longer notice the further decimation of humanity and evil taking place all around us?
It’s estimated that 60 percent of Latin American children who set to cross the border alone or with smugglers have been caught by the cartels and are being abused in child pornography or drug trafficking. You don’t have to be on any particular political side to realize open borders are exploiting the children.
So what do we do about it?
Let’s start with acknowledgement. It’s hard to do. Exploring this topic leaves me sick to my stomach and a lump in my throat. You might feel that you’re just one person, what can you do about it? Well, there’s 8 billion “just one persons” and it starts with each one of us.
Awareness. Spot the signs of Modern Day Slavery.
Compassion. I know this is difficult for most of us to comprehend, but stop indirectly fueling the demand. People aren’t products and bodies are not commodities.
Action. You reporting something could be the break authorities need.
Silence is easily interpreted as consent. Use your voice.